Thursday 24 September, 2020

HSA launches online booking for COVID-19 testing

The Health Services Authority (HSA) has launched an online appointment booking tool for the public to schedule their free COVID-19 screening test with results delivered by secure email directly to the patient.  Testing is by appointment only and must be made 48 hours in advance.

A dedicated COVID-19 testing clinic is now located at the George Town General Practice Clinic.

“With the economy reopening and people interacting more regularly it is vital that we continue to screen for COVID-19 so we can safeguard our community,” said Dr Eryka Simmons, Clinical Head of General Practice Services at the HSA. “We want to ensure that all members of the public have access to COVID-19 screening so we have been streamlining and improving our processes to make it easier and more convenient for people to book an appointment.

All persons screened will receive results via email within approximately 24 hours starting week commencing August 17. As an added benefit, all persons being screened are also enrolled into the free MyHSA Patient Portal which provides 24 hour secure access to your health information as well as other convenient features.”

While the Cayman Islands has not recorded a positive COVID-19 test result since 13 July, HSA is advising the public of the importance of continuous testing to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and maintaining an open economy.

“We encourage people to be prudent and proactive by continuing to practice the international COVID-19 prevention measures such as social distancing, washing their hands, wearing masks, as well as taking advantage of the tests available that screens for the virus and its antibodies,” said Dr Simmons.

The HSA uses  the polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 screenings, which is able to detect if someone is presently infected by the COVID-19 virus and the immunoglobulin (IgG) test that determines whether a person has had COVID-19 in the past and now has antibodies against the virus.

Both tests are available to members of the public at the HSA, free of cost. Anyone may register to be tested for COVID-19 or IgG antibodies as part of the ongoing national screening programme.

The HSA is also offering onsite IgG antibody testing to organisations with at least 20 persons.

“You could have had COVID-19 and not be aware of it because not everyone who gets the virus shows symptoms. The antibody test will give health officials a better idea of how common the virus has been in Cayman and will provide valuable information for informed decisions,” explained Dr. Simmons.

To self-register for the COVID-19 screening, persons can book an appointment directly online at www.hsa.ky/Appointment/. To register for antibody testing contact antibodyscreening@hsa.ky.

How to book an appointment for a COVID-19 screening:

  • Visit www.hsa.ky/Appointment/ or clock on the COVID-19 Info link on the website
  • Choose the date and time you would like to come in for your test.  Appointments must be made at least 48 hours in advance and are available Monday – Friday. At this time, we cannot accept walk-ins.
  • Enter your information as all persons need to be pre-registered.
  • You will receive an email confirming the date, time and location of your appointment.
  • Please show up for your appointment on time. The screening process only takes a few minutes.
  • Test results will be emailed to the patient approximately 24 hours after test.
  • Results will also be posted to the patient’s free MyHSA Patient Portal account. For more information on the portal, visit www.hsa.ky/our-services/patient-portal-info/

What is the difference between a Coronavirus Test and an Antibody Test?

A coronavirus test (nasal swab) detects an active COVID-19 virus. It tells you if you have the virus in your body at the time of testing – ONLY. It will not show if you previously were infected with COVID-19.

An IgG antibody test may show that you had the virus at some point in the past. It could be gone, or you could still be contagious. This test involves taking a small blood sample.

Do I need to be tested?

While testing is not mandatory, it is encouraged.

There is still so much we do not know about COVID-19. The more information we can gather on COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands the better prepared we can be.  It is important to continue testing as most persons with COVID-19 did not present symptoms, therefore there is potential of them spreading the virus without knowing.

Research gathered from IgG antibody testing will help inform crucial decisions that directly affect the Cayman Islands.

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